The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has scrapped the technical advisory committee (TAC), which was formed to improve transparency and accountability within the BMC and to help BMC put such information on its website which reduces the RTI application with help of citizen participation. Formed in 2013 by then municipal commissioner, Sitaram Kunte, it was headed by Shailesh Gandhi, former central information commissioner with some RTI activist and BMC officers being part of it. While Gandhi complained that much was needed to be done through the committee, BMC said that TAC had achieved its purpose and that since another high powered committee was appointed by state government on transparency for BMC, it would not be appropriate to have another committee. Citizens members who had been waiting for the monthly meeting to happen, and had sent reminders, said that the information came in a “rude” and showed lack of courtesy on part of BMC. “We had a meeting with the Municipal Commissioner on 22 May 2017 and he offered complete support. We suggested that most reports and dashboards which exist should be accessible by citizens and he readily agreed saying, “BMC has no information which cannot be disclosed to citizens”. I sent him an email on 27 May noting the main points of our meeting. Since there was no response to this email, I sent him a reminder on 10 July. After this despite verbal reminders to call for a meeting of TAC, no meeting was called. An RTI activist Girish Mittal had sought information about the TAC and has received information that the committee is scrapped. After my reminder of 10 July, BMC moved to disband TAC on 15 July. Apart from the fact that the municipal commissioner did not even have the courtesy of informing the citizen members, it appears our persistence irked MCGM and may have prompted this rude action,” said Gandhi. “There were a lot of information we would ask them to put up online. Most of it was not online including work orders, expenses on gardens and open spaces among others. The BMC should have shown the courtesy of informing us when we had been following up on the meeting,” said Bhaskar Prabhu, another member of the committee. “Citizens participation helps bring in more transparency in the work of authorities, said Girist Mittal, who had filed the RTI. Municpal commissioner, Ajoy Mehta did not respond to sms from DNA.
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BMC scraps TAC committee of citzens